Addressing the candidate “career gap” should be at the top of any company’s leadership agenda, as it creates one of the biggest hurdles to attracting top talent. For example, having women in the workforce has been shown to provide economic benefits to companies that promote gender parity among their employees, as well as the wide talent pool that women offer. However, people still want to have families, and it is usually the mother who ends up taking an extended career break to care for the children. This creates a continuity gap in the employee’s CV that can affect their career in the opposite direction. But there is a solution…

Enter: The Returnship

Atrophied skills and out-of-date industry knowledge can cause the candidate to become less attractive to companies, and they may have to take a lower position to what they had before, often for less pay. But a recent initiative gaining traction in the business world to bridge this gap is the “returnship”. Unlike traditional internships, which target workers new to the field, these programmes offer seasoned professionals, those who have been out of the workforce for longer periods, a refresher experience. 

Benefits for the employee and employer alike

Returnships allow the employee to brush up on skills – mainly tech – and industry trends, as well as rebuild their confidence. From there, like in a traditional internship, the candidate can move back into work using the new skills they have gleaned. They can also use the role to regain the confidence they may have lost after being away before stepping back into full work mode.

This half-step can also give the employee the space to reflect and get ideas for weaving experience from their time off into the new phase of their lives. They may have developed more patience, learned to multitask or manage their time better – all skills that they may have learned from looking after children, for instance. They are also that much older, and the life experience they have gained can enhance their performance on the job.

Industry leaders already capitalising on the returnship

Returnships were introduced to the UK market in 2014 by investment banks Credit Suisse, Morgan Stanley and Deutsche Bank, having been coined in the US in 2008 by Goldman Sachs. Like traditional internships, they typically run from three to six months and include a mentor. In 2016, 90 per cent of returnships were held by women, and the further along in their careers the employees had been when starting their break, the more they benefited from the support of the re-entry work experience. 

If you’re wondering how to enable your “career gap” staff to achieve their potential, learn more about our leadership service today!